‘We need to pour money into water infrastructure, or we are all sunk’

WaterAid’s Jonathan Farr says the latest IPCC report highlights the importance of adaptation, and business has a crucial role to play Last month the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its report on the challenges of limiting global warming to a more ambitious 1.5°C rather than 2°C, and the consequences of exceeding it.
It made stark warnings that highlight the need to urgently cut carbon pollution, and spelled out the threat to the world’s water.
The IPCC’s report makes it clear that a minimum of 1.5°C increase is locked in, and some have even dubbed that figure as “magical thinking”.
There have been positive signs around carbon reduction, with the breath-taking switch to renewable energy from fossil fuels not only cutting pollution but dramatically reducing water use too, but the cuts still aren’t happening fast enough.
HSBC has been working with Earthwatch, WaterAid and WWF to support projects that conserve clean water source Some companies are already taking action.
Climate resilience is a core part of WaterAid’s work with HSBC in Bangladesh, building climate-resilient clean water supplies in places like Dacope, where water supplies are depleting as a result of climate change, while improving the quality and accessibility of water sources.
Diageo, Gap Inc and Unilever worked with WaterAid to develop a Business Case for WASH,a guide to help companies understand and measure the economic benefits of investing in water, sanitation and hygiene, and thereby make the case for further investment while also encouraging their supply chains to take action.
HSBC and WaterAid are now putting the guide into practice, with the launch of a three-year project to deliver essential water and sanitation services in apparel factories and nearby communities in Bangladesh and India operating within their supply chain.
It is transformative for communities Future-proofing in a changing climate and ensuring water resilience is important for business continuity; when companies are able to embed WASH considerations within their water strategy, this often facilitates a more holistic water management approach.
Access to safe water does not just mean avoiding tragedy, it is transformative for communities, potentially bringing healthier lives, massively increased economic prospects, and sustainable cities, towns and communities for hundreds of millions of people.

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